Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Joe can cook! Episode 6: How to cook a good steak

I never had much of a problem with my watch until recently when my crown pops out and the time pauses, i am not sure whether it is due to the way i wear it or it does pop out (fingers crossed that this is not it, i shiver at the sight of another major repair). So before i realise that my watch was 12 hours too fast, i had already posted on twitter, wishing everyone in Malaysia, Happy Merdeka. Anyways, i sincerely hope the country that i was born in, will sort its racial, social and economic issues out.
That being said, Australia isn't exactly in the brightest of spots either. With a similar situation to UK, there is the possibility of a hung parliament, with both big parties courting the 4 independents to come their way, i suppose that leaves the economy on the edge of the cliff and employment has been slow. It is funny how easy it was to get into PwC in Malaysia, a place where truthfully not the greatest of places to go to but in Australia, it is just so hard to get in. Maybe staying back in Malaysia would have been better, but it is only the first month and other than the fact that i am still unemployed, i like where i am right now, the weather has been cold but i like, the food is alright, the people are ok too.

With that personal message across, lets see what i got for you guys and girls today.

Now tell me which guy out there, doesn't enjoy a good hearty steak (other than those who don't consume because of religious reasons)?  There's simply nothing out there to boost that testosterone level other than a good chunk of beef. 

I don't know about you but cooking steak can be very tricky. Very often, i hear people charring their steak to death; a dark brown centre that taste probably no better than eating tyres. I on the other hand, when i first started to experiment with steak, always too eager to dig, don't allow it to cook enough and rest at all.

After rounds of practice though, i think i got the formula about right and you might want to jot some notes (or just save this page).

Start with a good sized piece of rib eye about 1.5 inches thick (i get mine with the bone, in Melbourne). Alternatively, those who enjoy a less marbled cut but want some of the fat to go with it, take sirloin while those who wants tender and lean, go for tenderloin. You could go for cheaper cuts like rump but bear in mind there are very lean and won't be as juicy as the rest. If on the other hand are looking for something more premium, go for the wagyu versions which are approximately 4 times more expensive.

#1. Steak should be at room temperature or as a rule of thumb, maybe 20 minutes out from the fridge (less if you stay in a very hot country and more if its winter where you stay). 

#2. Coat the steak with olive oil and generous amounts of salt and pepper. No marination time is really needed. If you want to prepare before hand though, i suggest you omit the salt as it does dehydrate the piece of meat.

#3. Make sure the pan is hot and i mean sizzling hot. High heat on the stove.

#4. Let it sear. Look at the picture and see how thick the steak is. If yours was cut into a thinner slice, adjust the cooking time. Now, cooking time on the steak depends on whether you intend to use the oven plus a tip i picked up on the TV.

Method on testing whether meat is cooked to your liking

Rare - If you use your second finger and gently press the middle of the steak when it is still raw / rare, the feeling is rather soft, comparison with your fingers pressing your cheeks (unless you have absolutely no meat on your cheeks, alternatively try this method, use the tip of your thumb to touch the tip of your second finger. The portion of the palm below your thumb should be akin to the feeling of the steak). 

Medium rare / Medium - The feeling should be akin to touching your chin (below your mouth), (now unless you again don't have any meat on your face, use the alternative but this time use the thumb and the third finger). At this stage, the meat is at a slightly firmer texture. 

Well done - That is like touching your forehead, it should very firm and any juice or liquid would have sizzled up.

Now with that in mind, the estimated cooking time for a medium / medium rare steak is 2-3 minutes of high heat sear on each side (flip once ONLY). Put it into a preheated oven 200 degrees, for 5-7 minutes and use the cheek/chin/forehead or the finger and palm rule to see if you are happy with the meat, if it feels too soft, let it sit in the oven for awhile longer.

#5. Remember to let the meat rest, rule of thumb, it should be around 5 minutes unless your portion is like a 150 gram steak then maybe less. The steak above is in the region of 500 grams with the bone on. By resting the meat, you don't get a pool of blood when you slice the steak instead the juices are reabsorbed back into the meat.

# 6. The moment of truth; cutting into the steak.

This looks like a nice piece of medium rare leaning to the medium side with the meat all juicy and red. If you like only the centre portion of the meat to be red (textbook style medium) instead of having it all red like this (this was giving a longer oven treatment than 5-7 minutes), give the meat an extra minute on each side when you pan fry them.  

At the end of the day, you still need to make some adjustments to the cooking times because on TV shows, the cooking times for steak given is 6 minutes on each side for medium rare, 8 minutes on each side for medium and so on. Oven time should then be half the pan frying time. I feel that is way too long somehow. However on TV shows, those are often cooked on the grill and is probably not as hot as the high heat on your frying pan.

Serve the steak with anything you like; brown sauce (stock and flour cooked on the pan that you cooked your steak with immediately after you take out the steak from the pan. if you want, add mushrooms, garlic, shallots or onions for extra flavour), with mustard or just plain jane. Always remember your side of vegetables too!


boo_licious said...

Am sure things will work out. Yeah, I know abt that feeling of restlessness when there's nothing to do. Took a week off work and was climbing the walls after a while.

Thxs for the tips on the steak. Looks perfect from where I'm sitting. Happy Merdeka!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

boo: fingers crossed. no worries on the steak tips, thought that would help out a few people out there, something you probably know already!

Michelle Chin said...

My flat mate found it hard to get into PWC here too so she went back to shanghai. plus she got quite a good position in pwc shanghai... here she says that there is the glass ceiling effect..

Anonymous said...

A belated welcome to Melbourne from a fellow Melburnian.

Sounds like a cliche, but do make the most of your down time as there will always be a time for paid work!


Bangsar-bAbE said...

I know how you feel too. I can't stand not working -- it drives me nuts. Hope things would work out for you. *hugs* :)

Tummy Rumble said...

the rest time of a meat should be 1/2 of ur cooking time.. and how many minutes for each side depends on how thick your slab of meat is. cos sometimes, even a rib eye of the same weight could be of different thickness.. as for steak marinade, true steak eaters only take their steak with salt and pepper, sprinkled on it right before cooking.. but if you're bored of that, you could actually rub any herb of choice (rosemary, thyme, a mixture of differeet herbs etc) on ur steak and leave it aside for 30minutes before cooking.. thanks for sharing :)

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

tummyrumble: yeah thanks for YOUR tips, i just wanted to keep it simple and still, look at how long the post was!

bbabe: thanks for the hugs!

bev: harlo fellow melbourne-ian!

UnkaLeong said...

Enjoy your "tai-tai" life while it lasts lar :P Ayam sure you will be gainfully employed very, very soon. That's a mighty fine looking cut of meat you got there ;)

J said...

It's normal to be restless since you are used to working+you already had a bit of a break/holiday in Malaysia... but don't worry too much about it - it's only been a month! :)

(Best of luck in your job search tho. Hopefully you find a really good one soon... )

CUMI & CIKI said...

what a gr8 chef you are turning out to be dear joe! :D

babe_kl said...

your steak looks perfect to me! dun worry Joe, am positive that good things will come soon. enjoy now while you can.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

babekl: steak looks good? hehe thanks!

c&c: mayb i shud open like a delivery service hor..

j: thanks and well see you soon!

unka: tai tai don't have to cook, wash and clean ler...i do..

eiling lim said...

I like this post! Now I can start cooking my own steak! Hey, I wish you all the best and may you get the job you wanted!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

eiling: yes u can do that n drink with ur wine!

qwazymonkey said...

If I were you, I'll enjoy the non-working sabbatical for a while. :) It's not often a chance like that presents itself.

I'm sure a job will eventually come your way and by then, ur be missing your carefree cooking days

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

qm: haha well its hard to enjoy, anyways if i do get a job, i make sure i start 2-3 wks later and then it will be PARTAY!!

Grazia Amethyst Lim said...

My version:

Marinate with red wine (cheap local one will do)+ pepper (before cooking).

Another way of having tender medium rare meat is freeze ur meat and cook it right after u take it out from freezer. =)

ANOTHER tips for those staying in Malaysia:
If u want tender meat (whatever type of meat), I heard from others that soaking the meat in papaya leaf juice is the most natural way to achieve that.


"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

grace: interesting that u freeze ur meat b4 cooking it.. yeah wat the papaya does is break down the meat..thats y its tender..but surely for steak, u want to b able to chew rite?

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

gorgeous pics of the steak. i had a steak fest last weekend, and I'm all steaked out, and I'm still salivating here.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

ll: haha theres never such a thing as steaked out, my dear..

USA Restaurant said...

This is really yummy and nice!!


I am loving it